Men's Basketball Hosts Dartmouth, Harvard This Weekend
PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team is back home, finally, after two long weekends on the road. The Quakers host Dartmouth on Friday night at 7 p.m.; one night later, Ivy frontrunner Harvard comes to The Palestra for a game that will tip off at 6 p.m. and be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network as part of the Ivy League's basketball package with that network.
GAME 27 - PENN (7-19, 4-5) vs. DARTMOUTH (6-18, 2-8)
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The Dartmouth-Harvard Home Weekend
The Dartmouth Series
*Overall, the Quakers have won seven in a row in the series and 30 of the last 32 meetings (the lone exceptions being both games in the 2008-09 season); they have lost to Dartmouth just three times here at The Palestra since 1959 (1984, 1997, 2009).
*Two weeks ago, Penn was down 30-18 at the half and 33-20 early in the second half, but outscored Dartmouth 47-24 the rest of the way for a 67-57 win. Jamal Lewis and Henry Brooks led Penn in scoring with 14 points apiece. For the Big Green, Gabas Maldunas had a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) while Alex Mitola scored 14 points.
The Harvard Series
*In contrast to Dartmouth's lack of success at The Palestra, Harvard has walked out of here with a win each of the last four years; since the start of Ivy League play in the 1950s, no other program has had such a run of success against Penn in this building (not even Princeton).
*Two weeks ago, Harvard jumped out early and never looked back in taking a 73-54 decision in Boston. Wesley Saunders had 23 points to lead the Crimson, while Kenyatta Smith nearly had a triple-double with 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 blocked shots. For Penn, Darien Nelson-Henry had 14 points while Cameron Gunter recorded 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds.
It Could Happen...
*A Harvard win at Penn OR a Princeton loss to Dartmouth on Saturday would give the Crimson a share of the Ivy League title, as they will be two up on the Tigers in the standings with two games to play.
*If Harvard wins AND Princeton loses on Saturday, then the title (and the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament) is the Crimson's.
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Other Things Worth Noting...
*Eleven different players have had a double-figure scoring game for Penn this season.
*Penn is 6-0 in the Jerome Allen era when holding an opponent below 50 points, and 23-6 when holding its opponent below 60.
*Penn has had more assists than turnovers five times in the last 10 games, after accomplishing that feat just twice in the first 16 contests.
*Penn has outrebounded its opponent in three straight games, four of the last five and eight of the last 14 contests, after doing it just twice in the first 12 contests this season.
*Five of Penn's last eight opponents have shot below 36 percent from the field; the Quakers lead the Ivy League in conference field-goal percentage (39.6 percent).
*Freshman Tony Hicks had hit 16 free throws in a row dating back to Columbia on February 1, before he missed two of his five attempts last Saturday at Columbia.
*Freshman Jamal Lewis scored 14 points the last time Penn played Dartmouth, matching his point output from the last 11 games combined; he hit his first three-pointer since January 2 (at Butler) and made three free throws, one less than he had made for the entire season to that point.
*Freshman Darien Nelson-Henry has scored at least eight points in 10 of Penn's last 13 games, with eight double-figure scoring performances during that period.
*Nelson-Henry also has averaged 6.2 rebounds per game the last 10 contests, after averaging 2.5 rpg in his first 14 appearances; he had nine rebounds in both games last weekend, at Cornell and Columbia.
*Junior Dau Jok entered this season with nine career points and seven rebounds; he entered the January 5 game at La Salle with 37 career points and 29 career boards; in the last 14 games, he has scored 61 points and snared 38 rebounds.
*Junior Cameron Gunter entered the Harvard/Dartmouth road trip two weeks ago with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the season; he then recorded a combined 13 points and 12 boards against Harvard (10, 9) and Dartmouth (3, 3).
*Gunter made three free throws at Dartmouth; amazingly, they were his first made free throws in almost exactly a year, as the last time he made one was Feb. 17, 2012 against Cornell.